Have you ever had anyone tell you that they feel like the Lord has called them to do something? The truth about God calling humans cannot be determined by emotions, feelings, or man-made traditions. The Bible, and the Bible alone, provides us with accurate information about the call of God.
Bible-believers accept the fact that God calls humans. “. . . walk worthy of God who calls you . . .” (1 Thessalonians 2:12). Again, it is written, “. . . proclaim the praises of Him who called you . . .” (1 Peter 2:9). The Bible describes God’s calling as “a holy calling” (2 Timothy 1:9).
From what and to/into what does the God of heaven call us? The Bible affirms that He calls us:
Out of darkness and into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9)
Into the fellowship of His Son (1 Corinthians 1:9)
To peace (1 Corinthians 7:15)
To liberty (Galatians 5:13)
Into His own kingdom and glory (1 Thessalonians 2:12)
To holiness (1 Thessalonians 4:7)
A person who disregards the call of God misses out on the opportunity to have such blessings in his life.
How does God call people living today? We read in the Bible that in ancient times Jehovah directly called/communicated with humans. He called Noah to build an ark (Genesis 6:14), then called him to come into the ark, and later called him out of the ark. Abraham was called by God to leave his home and go to an unidentified place (Hebrews 11:8). While Barnabas and Saul were laboring with the church in Antioch, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them” (Acts 13:2). That was a direct communication and calling from the Godhead.
The Bible also informs us that God speaks to us through Jesus. “God . . . has in these last days spoken to us by His Son . . .” (Hebrews 1:1,2). Now that Jesus no longer lives in the flesh on the earth, how does God call people?
“Well, I believe the good Lord has the power to call folks in any way that He chooses.” We must not confuse two matters: (1) God’s power and (2) the plan/method which He uses. What does the Bible teach about how God calls humans living today? Whatever the correct answer is, it does not bypass or take away man’s freedom of choice. That is, God’s call is not irresistible. Someone may suggest that the call of God is mysterious and inexplicable. Another person may add that God calls a person by sending the Holy Spirit to open a person’s heart in a miraculous fashion. The problem with such sentiments is that they have no foundation in the Scriptures.
When we pull out our Bible and look at the message of 2 Thessalonians 2:14, what do we see? “To which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” How did Paul say that God had called them? By the gospel which Paul preached. That would be an indirect calling rather than a direct one. Jesus once said, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me” (John 6:44,45). What did Jesus say about one who comes to Him? First of all, only those whom the Father draws can come to Jesus. Second, the one who comes to the Christ is one who has heard and learned from the Father. Thus, the way that God the Father draws/calls/ pulls a person to Jesus is via the word of God. The call of God is an appeal to a person’s mind.
How should you and I respond to God’s calling? In other words, how should we respond to the gospel? Jesus has all authority (Matthew 28:18), and in order to please God we must hear His Son (Matthew 17:5), When Moses gave instructions to the Israelites, He charged them to obey the voice of the Lord. How would they obey God’s voice? By observing/keeping His commandments (Deuteronomy 28:1,15). Thus, when one submits to the Lord’s instructions, He is submitting to His voice and submitting to Him. Have you accepted the call of the gospel to believe on Jesus as Lord and the Christ, then repent and be baptized for the remission of sins? (Acts 2:36-38).
— Roger D. Campbell